Abusing the Muse, Part 1
Abusing the Muse, Part 1
Director, Producer, & Editor: Rebecca Peniston Bird
Director of Photography: Katie Milwright
Second Camera and Stills: Shannon Morris
Second Recordist: Joel Valerte
Production Manager: Sam Mass
Commissioning Editor: Janine Barrand
Featured musicians: Nick Cave, Martin P. Casey, Warren Ellis, Mick Harvey, Jim Selarsson
For the Arts Centre, Melbourne.
Not for downloadCopyright
The Arts Centre
Nick muses on his creative process and how he came to be a 9-5 office man.
-If I'm not actually writing stuff, or if I'm not actively engaged in writing in some kind of way, writing my life into this existence, in some way, I don't feel like anything at all.
It's not like I have these ideas about life, and then I go and write songs about them. I write songs, and then I have these ideas about life, if you know what I mean. I've got to get up to get down and start all over again. Yeah!
-Head on down to the basement and shout. Kick those white mice and black dogs out. Kick those white mice and baboons out. Kick those baboons and other ---- out, and get me down. Get me down.
NICK CAVE (VOICEOVER): Churchill had his black dogs, and Kafka, his white mice, enemies of creation taking enemy form. Well, I get the baboons. The baboons occur with reasonable, but not unmanageable regularity. They're not exactly depression, rather a state of anti-inspiration, and are often accompanied by the hyenas. The baboons and hyenas can, in time, be vanquished by a certain secret trick of the mind.
But the one you don't want to mess with is the moose. The moose doesn't come often. But when he does, you can hear his low, hopeless bellowing reverberating around the house, and my wife, collecting up the children and going, hush now boys. Daddy's got the moose.
-(SINGING) Get it out, get it out. Over a ....
I know there are some people who can let it go and have a more realistic approach to the whole thing of OK, I go and do my work, and then I'll become a normal human being in the hours that I'm not doing my work. But I actually find that very difficult. I've always found that very difficult.
NICK CAVE (VOICEOVER): You'd live in the studio. You wouldn't go home, especially back then. Blixa would sleep under the piano in his rubber boots. Tony Cohen, The Bad Seeds, eccentric producer, could be found comatosed in the air conditioning shaft, or under the mixing desk, checking the wiring. He created an alternate universe for those few, desperate weeks, when night and day ceased to exist, and the cleaners, with their buckets and brooms, became terrifying reminders of the outside world.
-(SINGING) Moral sneaks in the White House, computer geeks in the school house, and drug freaks in the crack house. At some point, I feel like I had to get organized, because things were getting hopelessly chaotic. I started to live with my wife, Susie, and it became very apparent that I could not work with anyone there. It just wasn't dignified to subject the person you love to the creative process, which is actually not very attractive.
(SINGING) And god is in the house. No one's left in doubt. God is in the house.
I don't go in the office when I feel inspired. I just go in the office in the morning, I don't care how I feel, or what condition I'm in, or whether the muses struck that day, or whatever. I just go in and do it. A lot of people think that to do that is somehow abusing the muse, or that you should wander around, and absorb life, and wait for the epiphany to happen, and write it down, and all of this stuff.
But I'm very much a kind of plodder that goes in, and sits down, and plods away at something, and I just work in the moment. I work much better in that way.